In this FREE, 90-Minute Live Training, You’ll Learn:
If you’ve studied the history of psychology at all, you know that psychologist John Bowlby first developed attachment theory while studying why babies became so separated from a parent.
Biologically, all babies need a parent or primary caregiver to take care of their basic needs to survive—and Bowlby observed that children use what he called attachment behaviors, such as crying, searching and holding on to their parent, to prevent separation or communicate their basic survival needs.
In an ideal situation, children come to rely on a consistent, loving presence that tries to understand them and meet their needs. And if your needs as a child were met by your primary caregiver, you probably developed a secure attachment style.
But what happens in a less-than-ideal situation? If your primary caregiver failed to meet your needs, or perhaps was slow to do so, you may have an insecure attachment style, which includes three sub-types: avoidant, ambivalent, and disorganized.
Attachment theory holds that these early childhood patterns can carry over into adulthood and influence your behaviors and interactions with others…and most importantly, how you form and communicate in your relationships with them.
Our self-esteem, ability to control our emotions, behaviors, communication style, work, beliefs, quality of our relationships—even our physical health—are all affected by our attachment style.
When we feel anxious or fearful or stressed, the patterns we established in early childhood continue to serve as our working model for our adult relationships. That means, we’re often not as good as articulating our needs or understanding others as we think we are.
And while you may not have much of a say over which attachment style you’ve developed, when you have a better understanding of the different attachment styles, you can begin to recognize (or even predict) what your response is likely to be in certain circumstances.
When we realize that so much of our relationship patterns may be related more to our early upbringing rather than our current partner’s shortcomings, we can begin to view yourself and others more compassionately and begin the healing process.
The good news, is, that learning more about why you think and feel the way you do is the key to overcoming insecure attachment styles.
When we better understand our own patterns, we can begin to develop new ways to connect with others and create deeper and more meaningful relationships.
You want to learn the basics of attachment theory (and the four attachment styles), so you can better understand how early childhood experiences or trauma affect adult behavior.
You’ve noticed a pattern of unhealthy and emotionally challenging behaviors—either in yourself or with different partners or situations—and feel like you might benefit from exploring the way you attach to people in your relationships.
You’re curious to know how to better navigate and communicate in any relationship, not just your intimate ones—including parent-child, work, or friendships.
You’re a therapist who works with couples or individuals, and you’re looking for new ways to incorporate targeted, effective skills into your everyday practice.